Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
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"To and Fro, Up and Down ...
Excerpts from: Emma H. Adams, 1888"
Published in 1888, "To and Fro, Up and Down" recounts Emma Adams adventures in the Pacific Northwest in 1886 and 1887.

Excerpts from:
Emma H. Adams, 1888, "To and Fro, Up and Down, in Southern California, Oregon, and Washington Territory, with Sketches in Arizona, New Mexico, and British Columbia": Cranston & Stowe Publishers, Cincinnati, Chicago, and St. Louis.

Under Construction ...

Chapter 32 ... "From San Francisco to Portland by Sea" ...

At nine o'clock of a late June morning, seven months after the date of the last chapter, the writer rode down to the landing, in San Francisco, where lay the fine steamship Oregon, of the San Francisco and Portland line, with steam up. My name was on her passenger list for the current trip. ...

Mount St. Helens, June 1886, p.292

The next object of general interest was Mount St. Helens, a splendid solitary snow cone, piercing the atmosphere, eighty miles away, in Washington Territory, and yet plainly visible from the deck of the steamer. Upon some of the passengers, who saw the majestic snow cone for the first time, the effect was peculiar. Statue-like, far enough away to be shrouded in mystery, the mountain seemed a Mikado of the old regime, holding absolute sway over the thousands of lesser summits, lifting their heads cloudward all about.

Presently, now, there fell upon our ears at regular intervals, a loud, hoarse cry which sounded much like a tone of distress. "Wat is that?" asked several of the company.

"We are approaching the mouth of the Columbia," answered the engineer, "and that is the warning voice of the buoy, which you see just ahead, there."

How the thing moaned and groaned as the Oregon glided by, as if really afraid of failing in duty! Like a giant with lusty lungs, the bellows-throated creature ceaselessly sends out its never-to-be-forgotten cries, which seem to say: "Beware of the bar of the Columbia." Even above the roar of the ocean, may mariners sailing amid darkness and fog hear its notes of alarm.

The Oregon sailed right on, paying no heed, and ere we were aware had headed eastward and was crossing the bar. The tide was full, and without the slightest difficulty she floated into the splended stream, with Cape Disappointment on the north, and Fort Stevens on the south. The broad expansion of the river from its mouth to the city of Astoria, a distance of fifteen miles, is known as Chinook, or Astoria Bay. But what means this multitude of tiny craft with sails all set, which descks the beautiful sheet?

"That is a small seciont of the salmon fleet of the Columbia," andswered a gentleman standing near. "And by the way, madam, the salmon industry is one of the most important subjects to which you can give attention in the North-west. Between here and Astorica there are a thousand boats engaged in taking the fish sometimes, with two men to each boat. What a pity you are going on to Portland to-night! Why don't you stop at Astoria? that's the place to get information about the pursuit. I tell you there's no end of interest attached to it."

Upon his stopping to take breath, I inquired if he were engaged in the salmon trade. ...

Chapter 35 ... "Some of Nature's Masterpieces in the Cascade Range" ...

Rooser Rock, 1886, p.327

Leaving Vancouver, the Thompson [the steamer Dixie Thompson] soon approached the point where the river emerges from its grand gorge in the Cascade Range, and before noon we had a stupendous scenery on either side, nearly every mile contributing some object of special interest.

"Do you see that lofty rock rising out of the water, just ahead, on the Oregon side?" asked the purser, a young man from Chicago, as we turned away from Vancouver.

"Yes," answered the parties addressed ...

"Well, that is Rooster Rock, one of the marvels of the Columbia. We shall pass it close on our left."

The "marvel" is a column of dark basalt, of irregular conical shape, resting on the bed of the river sixty feet below the surface, and rising probably one hundred and fifty feet above the surging water. The powerful current must have spent ages in hewing the staunch shaft into its present shape. "Looks it like a rooster?" No. It has not the slightest resemblance to one, but the top offers an admirable place from which to crow, could Mr. Gallus but reach it. Near by is another mass of rock, which answers very well for a hen, and scattered about are smaller ones, very suitable for chickens; thus is the spot supplied with a while family of the domestic fowl.

Chapter 41 ... "From Portland to Puget Sound" ...

Kalama to Goble Ferry, 1886, p.390 - 392

Emerging from thriving, driving Portland, at fifteen minutes before midday, the train speeds nearly northward down the western bank of the Willamette, twelve miles, with the fair stream in full view on one side, and precipitous fir-crowned bluffs on the other. Then turning westward, the iron horse plows along the southern brink of the Columbia until opposite Kalama, in Washington. Here, close by the river, the creature stops, un-couples from the coaches, backs a few rods, glides off on a side track, and -- looks on. In an instant, another engine near, homely of aspect, gigantic in strength, slowly approaches the train, from behind, locks into the rear car, and gently pushes the whole down the bank and on board a huge transfer steamer [the Tacoma], pouring columns of dense black smoke from its tall pipes, at the end of the track [Goble, Oregon].

On the broad deck of the steamer three railways are laid. The coaches glide upon the middle one. Immediately the great locomotive disengages itself, retreats a few feet, switches on to the left track, comes aboard, and halts beside the train. Meantime engine number one has left the side-track and may be seen creeping down the incline. Taking the right-hand rails, it, too, comes aboard, flanks the passengers on that side, and stops breathing.

Now slowly the immense boat pushes out from shore, moves up, and partly across, the broad river; then, reversing its engine, it drops down to the landing on the Washington side [Kalama, Washington], and adjusts its three tracks to those of the staunch, sloping dock built down the side of the bank. Instantly the engine on our right wakes up, rolls off the steamer, up the steep grade, and gets out of the way on the main road. This done, the Black Sampson starts its wheels, moves out upon the dock, switches to the middle track, backs on board again, lays hold of the coaches, and pulls passengers and all up the bank, with an air which plainly says: 'That's nothing for an engine to do.' Leaving us on the main track, locomotive number one again proffers it services, and away we speed toward the north.

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*River Miles [RM] are approximate, in statute miles, and were determined from USGS topo maps, obtained from NOAA nautical charts, or obtained from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website, 2003

  • University of Washington website, 2007, "History and Literature of the Pacific Northwest";

All Lewis and Clark quotations from Gary Moulton editions of the Lewis and Clark Journals, University of Nebraska Press, all attempts have been made to type the quotations exactly as in the Moulton editions, however typing errors introduced by this web author cannot be ruled out; location interpretation from variety of sources, including this website author.
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September 2008